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BEST PRACTICE AT SCIT CONCEPT NOTE

Title of the Practice

The Quest

Goal

To provide a platform for enhancing the skills of the members of the academic community (members of Faculty and students) of SCIT for the purpose of research, discussion, scrutiny and expression. To equip them with critical thinking capability that facilitates their interactions with the outside research community.

The Context

At SCIT, it is believed that the effective learning culture relevant to higher education demands for high-end research activities and related communication. In turn, good quality research is possible only when there is an environment conducive to collective academic scrutiny and constructive scholarly criticism.

Development of such culture from scratch is not easy as it involves a conviction in the right intentions behind the critical analysis by others and also, in the benefits of such scrutiny. Convincing the Faculty members to come to the dais and talk about their research agenda had been a challenge, initially. Another challenge was about making the invisible incentive for sparing some time for preparation, delivery of and listening to research seminars, visible. This practice helped in overcoming these challenges early and has given successful results so far.

The Practice

Stakeholders: Members of Faculty and occasionally, student community, whenever suitable topic is taken up.

Description: The Quest is a monthly meeting of the stakeholders held for conducting research related seminars delivered by the members of SCIT Faculty, students or an invited guest. The topics are related to the doctoral research, or, any other research work the stakeholders are involved in; or, a workable research paper they wish to get scrutinized by their colleagues; or, discussion of a good quality published research paper (not necessarily written by them) that may have some value to the audience.

The Quest meetings are held every third Thursday of the month from 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. At times, these sessions do get extended due to the questions and answers which follow the seminar. This has been kept and followed as a voluntary practice but has been well accepted among the faculty and has inculcated a need and urge for collaborative research thereon.

Evidence of Success

The effect of the Quest initiative has been visible on several fronts including quality of research work (RRC assessments for Doctoral students) of Faculty members, number of research papers, quality of journals and conferences that publish the papers, classroom delivery and interactions, quality of students’ internship and dissertation, students performance in examination and different competitive events and eventually, recognition of SCIT as an institute of high academic credentials in academia as well as industry.

The size of audience has gradually increased, intensive interactions are visible and Faculty members have started volunteering for the seminars. Instead of six seminars in six months, the Quest organized eight such meets. A few informal and formal statements of appreciation have been received from about forty percent of the Faculty members. Supporting document containing the minutes of the Quest meetings is attached.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

The only agenda of the Quest is to expose the researchers to scholarly scrutiny with an aim to enhance the academic rigor in research work and therefore, needs right quality of resources for the participants.

SCIT has ensured the whole academic community’s access to online journal databases like IEEE CS, EBSCO, CMIE and Emerald insights. Initially, it was difficult to get the speakers and audience for this voluntary activity. Senior members, including the Director, made it a point to attend these meetings without fail.

This made others also inquisitive about the benefits of attending the seminars thus resulting in improved and increased attendance. Another limitation encountered is that of the availability of time limited to meetings held just once in a month. It has been a task to get students to attend the same because of their regular sessions but would be addressed soon.

Notes

The Quest has evolved over the time. What was started as an activity for Faculty and interested students only has extended to external guests sharing their experiences and wisdom about the research with the audience. The institute is trying its best and will continue the same to keep us this best practice that can enrich many more researchers.

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